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Bainbridge musician makes good: Violinist Andrew Joslyn to perform at Grammys with Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

Andrew Joslyn, a 2001 graduate of Bainbridge High School, will perform with Macklemore & Ryan Lewis at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards this Sunday.   - Photo courtesy of Andrew Joslyn
Andrew Joslyn, a 2001 graduate of Bainbridge High School, will perform with Macklemore & Ryan Lewis at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards this Sunday.
— image credit: Photo courtesy of Andrew Joslyn

Andrew Joslyn is accustomed to having everybody stare when he plays the violin.

Well, almost everybody.

“It’s kind of bizarre having Kevin Bacon and Jay Leno stare you down while you play music,” Joslyn said. “You’re never prepared for that.”

Maybe he found his recent performance on the Tonight Show to be nerve-racking, but what Joslyn said he is prepared for, however, is his upcoming performance at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards show this Sunday.

“It’s such hallowed ground for the music industry,” he said of the event. “I’m just going down there to perform, and to be there in support, too.”

The Grammys, long billed as “music’s biggest night,” will be held at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles, which Joslyn said is quite a switch from some of the places he’s played.

“I’ve performed in broken down clubs and back alleys for not even three people,” he said.

The 2001 Bainbridge High graduate will be performing for a crowd much larger than three people when he takes the stage with Macklemore & Ryan Lewis to perform from their seven-time nominated album “The Heist.”

Joslyn recently finished touring with the hip-hop act, who he had been performing with for nearly six years. He even had a major hand in the creation of the much-lauded album.

“I first started playing with Macklemore in 2008,” Joslyn said, “Literally when Macklemore first got out of rehab. It’s pretty bizarre to watch this entire trajectory.”

Josyln was fully involved with the making of “The Heist,” and did all of the orchestral string arrangements and even conducted some studio sessions.

Joslyn, a violinist trained with an emphasis on classical music, now resides in Seattle where he has also worked with folk legend Judy Collins, David Bazan (Pedro the Lion), Mark Lanegan (Queens of the Stone Age), Duff McKagan (Guns N’ Roses), Doug Martsch (Built to Spill), Tim Lopez (Plain White T’s), and the Seattle Rock Orchestra.

It was while in college, Joslyn said, that he began to get very serious about music.

“I had been playing violin in a rock band,” he said. “And I was playing with some fiddle music too. But I wanted to be playing my own stuff instead of being a glorified jukebox. I got really involved with doing a lot of session work with a variety of groups. I also run my own string quartet. I do all the arranging and composing.”

The young musician said that the past year has been an unexpected windfall of success, and he is taking it all in stride.

“It just kind of all came together,” he said. “For the longest time, I had always been doing arranging work and stuff, but it was mostly just a passion project. Not until July of last year, right before I went on tour with Macklemore, I said let’s make this a full fledged career and commit to it.”

The island success story had his first violin lesson in the Lynwood Center when he was just 5, he said.

“My parents got me started with music when I was 5 years old,” Joslyn said. “My father’s side has a strong legacy of classical string players and performers and they wanted me to at least appreciate music.”

He did more than simply appreciate the craft, and by the time he was in college he broke from the regimented routine of his classical training and delved into his own exploration of contemporary music in a variety of styles.

Now, having reached a level of establishment within the world of professional musicians, Joslyn said his next focus will be on new collaboration projects and further developing his own work.

“Really I just want to focus on writing my own material for film, my own album eventually,” he said. “I have all these collaborations right now, like irons in the fire.”

Joslyn credits his success with having learned a strong work ethic early on, and his ability to maintain a positive attitude.

“Don’t be afraid to learn about the industry,” he advised aspiring musicians. “Learn about publishing and licensing and all that, because a lot of people treat the arts and music as hobbies. They never treat it like a business and never give it its due respect as a career. If someone is serious about pursuing it [music] as a career, learn all the ins and outs. If I walk into a studio, I know exactly what I should negotiate and what I should be asking for.”

If “The Heist” does not win Album of the Year, Joslyn said that he would like to see “Good Kid, M.A.A.D City” by Kendrick Lamar be named the winner.

“His [Lamar’s] album was incredible,” Joslyn said. “He’s doing some pretty revolutionary stuff with that recording.”

To learn more about Joslyn and his numerous music projects, visit www.andrewjoslynmusic.com.

The 56th Annual Grammy Awards will air Sunday, Jan. 26 on CBS.

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